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Tag: Cartoons (1-7 of 7)

On the Books: Elizabeth Vargas is penning a memoir

News anchor Elizabeth Vargas has announced that she is penning a memoir about her struggle with anxiety and alcoholism. The untitled project will be released by Grand Central Publishing in Spring 2016. Grand Central said that the 20/20 anchor’s memoir will be “a no-holds-barred account of growing up with crippling anxiety and of turning to alcohol for relief.  She’ll divulge how she found herself living a dark double life and will share personal stories of her despair, her time in rehab, and, ultimately, her recovery process.” Vargas found solace in reading stories by other women who had battled alcoholism and she feels like it’s her turn to share. “I have spent my entire life telling other peoples’ stories,” she said. “This one is my own, and is incredibly personal: the burden and the loneliness of the secret drinker.  If just one other person can relate to it, it will make my own story worth writing, and I will have paid the gift forward.” READ FULL STORY

Legendary 'Batman' artist Jerry Robinson, who helped create Robin and The Joker, dies at 89

Mourning in Gotham City, and across all of fanboy nation: Legendary comic book artist Jerry Robinson has died at the age of 89. Robinson, who was born in Trenton, N.J., on Jan. 1, 1922, was recruited to DC Comics by Batman creator Bob Kane and made key contributions to the character’s mythos. In addition to Robin the Boy Wonder, Robinson is credited with helping to develop Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, and two of the caped crusader’s best-known enemies, Two-Face and The Joker, both of which were featured in director Christopher Nolan’s last Batman flick, The Dark Knight, played by Aaron Eckhart and an Oscar-winning Heath Ledger, respectively. (It should be noted that the business of determining who came up with what in comics can be tricky and contentious. For example, Bob Kane — who died in 1998 — claimed that he and original Batman scribe Bill Finger concocted The Joker.) READ FULL STORY

'Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley': A comics classic reborn

In the world of funny-animal comics cultdom, artist-writer Floyd Gottfredson is overshadowed by Carl Barks, the Donald Duck artist. But Fantagraphics Press’ new Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: “Race to Death Valley” contains all you need to know to revel in the very different, deeply pleasurable work of Gottfredson. READ FULL STORY

The 10 Best Graphic Novels and Comics of 2010

It was a good year for a wide array of comics collections and graphic novels. From superheroes to memoirs of old age to vintage reprints, there was something for anyone — which is to say, everyone — interested in visual storytelling. READ FULL STORY

Snooki from 'Jersey Shore' to write a novel

jersey-shore-snookiImage Credit: Scott Gries/Picture Group/MTVThat groan you hear is every author that’s ever put pen to paper turning over in their graves. After news that her Jersey Shore co-stars The Situation, Ronnie, and J-Woww all have book deals, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the shortest and orangest cast member on the reality show, is set to pen a novel called A Shore Thing. Gallery Books will publish it in January 2011. That’s long after the submission deadline for the 2011 Pulitzer Prizes, just in case anyone was wondering.

In the press release, the editor-in-chief of Gallery asks, “Who better than Snooki to write a fun, sexy novel about a single girl looking for love on the Jersey Shore?” I’m just going to take a wild guess and say, maybe someone who’s read a book at some point in their lives? What do you think, inhabitants of Shelf Life? Does this news make you want to go disinfect your bookshelves?

'Bloom County The Complete Collection': Totally '80s humor - and a penguin, too!

43932843I can’t really overemphasize the role Berke Breathed’s Pulitzer-winning ’80s comic strip Bloom County played in my life. Its prepubescent hero, Milo Bloom, was a budding journalist of dubious ethics. He had a best friend named Binkley who was fond of wearing tutus (much to the chagrin of his football-loving dad). And they palled around with an endearing penguin named Opus. The fact that I turned out to be a gay, penguin-fancying journalist with an offbeat sense of humor? It ain’t pure coincidence.

So imagine my delight to reacquaint myself with the origins of Breathed’s pre-Opus opus, the first of a planned five-volume compendium of the strip’s nearly nine-year, Pulitzer-winning run. Bloom County The Complete Collection, Volume One includes several pages of The Academia Waltz, the strip that Breathed drew for the student newspaper at the University of Texas, Austin in 1978-79. It was very much a Doonesbury homage, as I suspect most college comics were in those days — though it did introduce an early version of both the preppie cad Steve Dallas and the wheelchaired Vietnam vet Cutter John, who would become regulars in Bloom County. READ FULL STORY

Hugh Hefner... cartoonist?


If you only know him as the old duffer in his pyjamas on The Girls Next Door, get a copy of the pop-culture journal Royal Flush, which contains a fascinating, surprising interview with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner about his love of comics and cartoonists.

I always knew that from the start of Playboy, Hefner personally chose the cartoons the magazine ran, and developed a stable of great artists such as Harvey Kurtzman (one of the key instigators of MAD Magazine) and Jack Cole (the creator of Plastic Man), paying top fees that could compete with publications like The New Yorker and Esquire. I also knew that, flush with the success of Playboy in the late 1950s, he bankrolled a gloriously doomed project, Trump, the first full-color comics magazine. (It lasted only two issues.)

But the Royal Flush interview is a small treasure-trove of information. Hefner tells interviewer (and Flush publisher) Josh Bernstein that by the time he was 16, he was drawing himself in autobiographical comics (reproduced here), using the character-name “Goo Heffer.” (It was also at this age, he says, that he started calling himself “Hef.” I’d daresay no one before the advent of hiphop had the wit and cajones to give himself a cool nickname that would be picked up and used by everyone who wrote about him.)

The Royal Flush interview glows with Hefner’s enthusiasm for comic art, and, clearly recognizing that Bernstein is a sympathetic interviewer, Hefner allowed him to reprint the suicide note that Jack Cole wrote him shortly before killing himself in 1958. (For a portrait of the great, tortured Cole, try finding a copy of Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd’s Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stressed To Their Limits.)

These days, if anyone thinks about Playboy cartoons, they might recall the slinky, gauzy drawings of Vargas or the madcap adventures of Kurtzman and Will Elder’s wiggly Little Annie Fanny (right).

little annie f

But as Royal Flush makes clear, Hefner was both an important patron of comic artists and a fan with an expert eye. I wish that, instead of wasting more videotape on The Girls Next Door, someone would make a documentary about Hefner’s place in the history of cartooning.

In the meantime, this Royal Flush interview will have to do, and does so handsomely.

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